Facebook plans to make it possible for WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram users to send messages to one another without switching apps, the Independent reported.
As confirmed by Facebook, the three standalone apps will remain separate, but they’ll be brought together under a single messaging platform or protocol.
In a statement, Facebook said it wants to “build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want to message to be fast, simple, reliable and private”.
Once complete, the merger would mean that a Facebook user can communicate directly with someone who only has a WhatsApp account. This is currently impossible as the applications have no common core.
The merger will involve “thousands of Facebook employees” re-designing all three apps “at their most basic levels”.
“We’re working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and family across networks. As you would expect, there is a lot of discussion and debate as we begin the long process of figuring out all the details of how this will work,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNBC.
It means that all three apps will support end-to-end encryption, which Instagram currently lacks.
End-to-end encryption protects messages from being viewed by anyone except the participants in the conversation.
Facebook aims to complete the project by the end of 2019 or early 2020.